Stop Doing This If You Value Your Shoulders

Here is the answer to the question I posed in my last post on shoulder injuries;

•Shoulder injuries make up a particularly large proportion of injuries in the following sports:
o Baseball: 18 percent
o Wrestling: 18 percent
o Football: 12 percent
o Softball: 10 percent

I was about to go on a tirade about upright rows and did a quick google search for a good picture of someone doing upright rows I ended up on Wikipedia. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found;

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The upright row as performed on a cable machine.

The upright row as performed on a cable machine.

The upright row is a weight training exercise performed by holding a barbell with the overhand grip and lifting it straight up to the collarbone. This is a compound exercise that involves the trapezius, the deltoids and the biceps. The narrower the grip the more the trapezius muscles are exercised, as opposed to the deltoids. Dumbbells, an EZ Curl bar, or a cable machine can be used instead of a standard barbell.

Due to the amount of internal rotation of the humerus during this movement, many trainers and organizations (such as the ACSM and NFPT) consider this a contraindicated exercise for all trainees. Most, will at least advise those with shoulder impingement issues to avoid it. Abstaining from raising the bar above the chest line will help in avoiding injury. If pain arises, stop this exercise immediately, as it may be an indicator of a pinched nerve. Substitutes include shrugs (for upper trapezius development) and lateral raises (for lateral deltoids).

While the movement resembles the end portion of the high pull it works different muscle groups. In the upright row, the shoulders provide the force to lift the weight upwards, while in the high pull, the majority of the force is generated by the lower body, with the scapulae providing the rest of the force, and the arms are raised in response to (not as the cause of) the rising bar.

Not too bad…I will elaborate on this in the future but a good basic case that this is a higher risk exercise that should maybe be left only for those particiapting in Oympic lifts.

Eric Beard

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